National Institute on the Prosecution of Sexual Violence in Indian Country

April 12 - 15, 2016

The National Indian Country Training Initiative, in partnership with AEquitas, an Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) funded Technical Assistance Provider, hosted the National Institute on the Prosecution of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (NIPSVIC) at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Travel and lodging accommodations were paid for by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Education.

Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of rapists are serial offenders who are known to their victims. They are adept at creating, identifying, and exploiting perceived vulnerabilities in their victims, ultimately rendering them more vulnerable to attack through the use of premeditated tactics and non-traditional weapons. Further, rapists routinely benefit from society’s common misconceptions regarding their appearance, behavior, use of weapons, etc. that often results in a failure to identify, report, and hold them accountable for their crimes. To more effectively identify, investigate, and prosecute non-stranger rapists, prosecutors must overcome their own myths and misconceptions about sexual violence, as well as those believed by judges and juries.

37 prosecutors from around the country participated in the 3 ½ day course that was designed to challenge participants to reevaluate their approach to prosecuting sexual violence crimes. The NIPSVIC explored the complex issues faced by prosecutors in balancing offender accountability and the impact of criminal prosecution on victims. In addition to practical case evaluation and litigation skills, the curriculum examined the benefits of developing a coordinated, victim-centered community response; explain common injuries and relevant medical evidence, and offer guidance on the use of medical experts; explore ethical issues confronted by prosecutors; address the development and improvement of culturally-sensitive victim services; and offer prosecutors the ability to redefine outcomes and the very nature of justice in sexual violence cases.

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